This compilation was received as a good representation of the music from UB40, who are an English reggae group. This is the first half of their series of compilations that were delivered in volumes. This should be an interesting listening experience all the same, so let’s jump in and take a listen to the music here.
We begin with Food For Thought which begins with a pleasant saxophone led piece. Shortly into it, a Reggae guitar parts kicks in. The singing then comes along, and this is a very easy listening sort of piece for people to listen and enjoy. Simple, beautiful and effective, this is a nice sort of thing to listen to in the background. The lyrics are seemingly confronting, but this is a very good listen indeed. A very good song to hear. Hopefully Reggae legend Bob Marley would have dug this music if he were alive today, it is a really good listen and although some may think that this is somewhat repetitive, it sounds great. Towards the end are some interesting bongo beats to match with the lush instrumentation. Brilliant listening, it fades out gently.
Next is King which begins with a keyboard patch, before launching into a slightly melancholy styled piece of music. There is some gorgeous instrumentation including a saxophone here. This whole piece is wonderfully crafted and constructed by UB40. A very good sounding piece of music, and is a great reminder of what Reggae based music can do. There is a section that goes temporarily quiet, before going back into the tune at hand. Various excellently crafted delayed based sounds as here, making this number a little psychedelic. A good tune from start to finish, especially in retrospect.
My Way Of Thinking begins with some nice processed guitars, before going into a sleazy Reggae groove which is excellent listening. The songs here are really top, just emotional and upbeat. This piece is a bit of an ode to a lover, at least lyrically. A really excellent effort by UB40, this is a gentle and relaxing listening experience. The instrumentation here is really gold, as is the structure of the song itself. It rightly deserves its place on this compilation. Neat. It sounds really beautiful towards the end, before finishing abruptly. Excellent stuff.
The Earth Dies Screaming – Edit begins with some rolling drum sounds, a basic Reggae sound and a great melodic sensibility to the song. This is impressive listening, and just sounds really fresh, even today. The sense of melodicism and riff laden textures are fantastic here, and the lyrical matter is seemingly political, in an odd way. In the middle is a lovely saxophone solo piece which sounds really great. A really fine and excellent musical listen, this is really great. Towards the end the saxophone returns to conclude our musical journey. Very, very nice to hear that. There are some wind rushing sounds at the end as well, good job guys.
Next up is Dream A Lie begins with another rolling drum sound, before launching into a really cool sounding piece of music, with some excellent found Reggae sounds here. The singing kicks in and sounds impressive. This is a shining and classic example of decent Reggae music here. Really cool tune to hear, a great short three minute Reggae Pop piece. UB40 prove their worth here, and this album so far is a refreshing listen. The outro has some brilliant keyboards, and you can hear how intricate the bass guitar is as well. A fine effort.
Following is Don’t Let It Pass You Buy which is a seven minute piece. This song is an intricate effort, but is rewarding musically for that. Once the singing commences, we have an excellent tune and the musical quality here is really excellent, with bongo beats, keyboard and saxophone to match. This groovy nature of this song is really quite good, this is a fun listen. Some impressionistic lyrics are present as well, this is amazing and impressive. In the middle is a very trippy instrumental section with a lot of emphasis on the bass guitar playing here. The melodies gradually re-enter from the main part of the song, and we have a really cool listening experience here. A nicely mixed set of sounds are here, the whole thing is very psychedelic. A fine listening experience, this is a nicely crafted piece of music. Excellent.
Don’t Slow Down follows with some sleazy sounding saxophone to begin with, before launching into an impressive piece of Reggae Pop music. It is a really intelligent and listenable piece of music, and it just goes to show that UB40 had a few tricks up their sleeve musically. This is a nice listen that is awesome to hear, especially at home more so than anywhere else. A really great piece of sonic goodness, this is typical UB40 at their best. It may seem repetitive, but not overwhelmingly so. Great to hear something fresh recorded decades ago.
One In Ten begins with some keyboard sounds and some electric guitar. This piece isn’t as good as the others, and some socially aware singing and lyrics are here. It is a good piece of music, but probably not outstanding. Still, this is not exactly bad or skippable, but just seems out of place here. The lyrics here are about living in poverty and hardship, a very confrontational topic. In the second half, the music cuts out briefly, leaving just the vocals before returning in its glory. An okay tune, but not fantastic.
The famous tune Red Red Wine comes next, and you can hear why it is so well known – it is excellent. It is a great song with some nice Reggae sounds and a keen sense of rhythm here. A really fine and awesome listening experience, this is a good quality tune that demands to be played in a tropical location of your choice. Very good to hear, and a real Reggae Pop classic. If you have to hear one UB40 song, this is it. Nice piece of music.
Next along is Please Don’t Make Me Cry which has a faded in intro. Straight away, you can tell that this is a great song. An excellent and fine listening experience, this is very inspired sounding. A great love song with troubled emotions at hand, this is an excellent listening piece for fans of Reggae music. A really beautiful saxophone solo is in the second half of this song, adding some essential flavour into the mix. Fine Reggae music is refreshing, like these songs, from time to time. Good tune.
Many Rivers To Cross begins with a keyboard led sound and some awesome harmonies to match. Immediately you can hear how good this song is, it is really awesome and catchy listening. It’s less like Reggae, more like a Pop song really. Still, it is a great song with some awesome Pink Floyd styled female backing vocals here, showing the world a different side of UB40 here. A great piece of music on this album, along with the rest of the songs. This is a really gentle and relaxing sort of song that is very much downtempo and smooth. Another yet decent listen from UB40. It fades out gently and gradually. Nice tune.
Cherry Oh Baby begins with some typical Reggae sounds, before some awesome singing enters into this piece. A really fine and decent musical sensibility is here. This goes to show that UB40 were a force of good tunes back in the 1980s. A very good sonic piece, with chugging piano, keyboards and really good singing, this is an ode to a lover. Another good listen here, it is welcome for fans of Reggae music and Pop historians in general. Nice job boys.
After that is If It Happens Again which begins with a catchy distorted horn part, before launching into a really awesome sounding piece of music that has some dark lyrical matter about threatening to leave an unfaithful lover who is troublesome. A really great musical listen, this is different and unique, even for UB40. It is very Pop oriented, and is a really catchy listen. Although it is a little repetitive, it is a decent tune to hear. Quirky, yet cool. The horn sound re-emerges, with a load of delay onto it, in the outro.
Next is a memorable duet with singer Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders with I Got You Babe. It has a synth melody, clever beats and excellent melodicism. Both lead singers do a terrific job here singing in turns, and this whole piece sounds really excellent, and is a very memorable tune after hearing it. There is a rather unnecessary key change here though, but it still sounds good regardless. Nice listen here. The outro is rather repetitive, though.
Don’t Break My Heart has a faded intro, with some unusual percussion based sounds. Before long, bass guitar and singing get this piece underway. This is okay, but not really fantastic in retrospect. Although UB40 made good Reggae songs, it is seemingly obvious that their songs in retrospect weren’t as consistent or inspired as one would think. Good, but not great here. The multitracked singing in the chorus is rather good, however. A bit slow, repetitive and dull, this song wears out its welcome easily. The outro could have been cut down, too.
Sing Our Own Song begins with some interesting keyboard patches, which are very 1980s. This is a good tune about being accepted (or not) in a world full of prejudice. Despite the political overtone of this piece, it is an okay listen. This compilation does seem rather patchy though, yet one can appreciate the music here regardless. The chorus is nice, and sounds magnificent. A fairly straightforward UB40 listen. It drags out towards the end, though.
Up next is Rat In Mi Kitchen which begins with a nice percussion part, followed by bass guitar. Some energetic drum rolls follow, before this piece of music enters nicely. A better UB40 song that sounds awesome and is a fun singalong piece. It seemingly has some nasty lyrics towards a lover here. It’s a good listen all the same, and is good fun. A little repetitive but enjoyable regardless, it fades out gently.
Last on this compilation is Maybe Tomorrow which is very brassy sounding. A piano part then comes into it, showcasing a good song, although not a great one here. This is a good effort but by this point, the listener may feel fatigued by the same sounding sort of songs here. Still, it’s not that bad, it just seems really repetitive listening here. Singing about a lover, UB40 seemingly pour their emotions into this song. Not bad overall, despite its flaws.
This album is a fairly average collection of songs, some really good and interesting, others just downright boring. Still, if you like Bob Marley and have Reggae fever, this is a good place to start, although many songs here sound the same. A nice effort, however.
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